Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | May 3, 2010

Nerdy ways

nerd– noun Slang – an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit.

Whilst I don’t want to believe that I have a tendency to become obsessed with some hobbies (either old or newly acquired) of mine, many people will actually say that I do that. They say that I perhaps inherited this habit either from my maternal uncle or my father or from both. These people have a variety of interests and in some weird ways if they like something they try their level best to master that.

I am a bit like them too in this regard. I don’t know if my success rate is as high as my maternal uncles’ or my fathers’ but I have this tendency to exhibit that doggedness of pursuing something whole-heartedly if that manages to capture my imagination. I am proud of my habit but sometimes this habit of mine can really be cause of concern for others.

More often than not my obsession borders on gaining knowledge. I remember nearly six years back, I started to gain knowledge about World War II. I started reading about the war, watching as many films and documentaries I could on the subject. As long as I was single and living alone, it was fine. However, with a change in status my hobby became a sort of imposition on my wife. Thankfully, she did not rebel for a long time and allowed me to realise in my own time, that it is better sometime to give these sorts of obsessions a break once a while.

I went slowly on WWII only to realise I feel interested to read up on China. Thanks to the Auckland library and my many friends from East Asia out here, my eagerness reached its pinnacle. Soon there were many books about China and Chinese films all over our small apartment here. I could even overhear my wife telling my father over a phone call, that I may even start looking like Mao with my Chinese obsession!

Such bouts of knowledge do help me and I am thankful to my family for tolerating these things.

My latest such interest is cooking healthy food at home. I wrote about this a few posts back too but the other day I really felt I am at times doing a bit too much. As soon as I touched down in New Zealand, I found this brilliant dichotomy in Kiwi society. One, obesity is a major issue and two people are tremendously health conscious. Even now I cannot relate both the things, but nevertheless the health conscious thing has had quite an effect on me.

I was always an underweight boy but more or less fit. Always a problem child as regards to food, as I am growing old, I can feel that I have all the unnecessary urban diseases such as a paining knee, sometimes pain in the back / neck etc. I have ignored and accepted most of these pains till now. However, now I feel that is surely not good. I mean, I should give it a try at least – to enable change my eating habits.

The other day our general practitioner found my blood pressure to be slightly on the higher side. She did not panic but I did. Anyway, I have to accept the fact that people of my age are much fitter out here – trekking and doing all sorts adventure travels and now on top of that I may end up having blood pressure issues! To me at the moment, this is unacceptable. So, in came whole-grain bread and brown rice for diet. Along came many vegetables which my parents and my wife always wanted me to have but never succeeded in convincing me. However, to top it all came back a sudden inclination towards doing free hand exercises. Now the last bit has a controversial history. I will talk about it sometime later.

My mother still cannot believe that her son has changed so much. She is secretly appreciative but doubts my ability to continue this. I know the reason for her doubts – eating and cooking is not reading books, which sort of came naturally to me like came aversion to food for a long long time. However, with everyone’s good wishes, I hope to continue. It helps not just myself but it undoubtedly helps the family much more than I have ever thought it does. Since, I am eating healthy (finally), all others are eating healthy too. I am quite old to remain as the “problem-child” when it came to eating.

Now the obsession bit. Well hang on. Nowadays, before I eat anything or even buy anything, I do check up the expiry dates etc (here even fruits, vegetables, meat, chicken and fish have expiry dates) but to top it all, I check from the internet as well from the packet the essential nutrients that the particular food item. Wow to that!

Nerdy bit is, sometimes I end up asking my wife – “are we having a hot glass of calcium today”? or maybe
“did we have anything with dietary fiber”, forgetting that I can easily ask about milk, brown bread or papaya.

I know I can take everyone’s comments on board and be a bit less nerdy. However, that will come slowly. Cooking healthy food (and sometimes discussing it) at the moment is therapeutic to me. The other day, that is why after dinner, I cut an entire pumpkin till 11 PM at night. I did not love the entire process but after it ended I felt awesome and had a good night’s sleep.

Trust me brown rice tastes good by the way.



  1. Your musing has goaded me into writing something on the same subject in my blog, Tanmoy. Thanks!

  2. I must say life started off very similar to yours with checkin on food intake, expiry dates, calorie values and where did that fat go. And now, its more of did the hunger go away and how much of fibre intake did i get. Sometimes i do feel like a horse eating bran !!!

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